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Old 29-12-2017, 08:44   #1
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Registering a boat in the US

Good morning.

I am in Florida.

I just bought a Tartan 33 previously registered with the coast guard.

I went to the tax office in my city but first i need to register the boat with the coast guard.

Looking at the coast guard site i started to fill the 1258 form but suddenly come a huge problem. It seems you need to be a US citizen to register a boat. Since i am a US resident (with green card) I do not think I qualify.

Does anyone knows how to ago around this problem?

I sent an email to the coast guard for information but still waiting.

Regards

Chris
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Old 29-12-2017, 08:48   #2
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

you don't need to document the boat with the CG. You need the previous owner to undocument the boat.
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Old 29-12-2017, 08:51   #3
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by maijipo View Post
Good morning.

I am in Florida.

I just bought a Tartan 33 previously registered with the coast guard.

I went to the tax office in my city but first i need to register the boat with the coast guard.

Looking at the coast guard site i started to fill the 1258 form but suddenly come a huge problem. It seems you need to be a US citizen to register a boat. Since i am a US resident (with green card) I do not think I qualify.

Does anyone knows how to ago around this problem?

I sent an email to the coast guard for information but still waiting.

Regards

Chris
There is no simple way around this problem, other than dropping the USCG documentation and registering the boat with Florida like you register your car.

The more complete answer:

You can form a corporation that is the "official" owner of the boat. The catch is the corporation has to be at least 51% controlled by US citizens in order to document the boat. There are law firms in Delaware who specialize in doing this if you need it done. Of course, anything involving lawyers means money...
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Old 29-12-2017, 08:54   #4
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Once the boat is undocumented you can even register it in your home country and keep it forever in the US on a cruising permit because you have a green card.
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Old 29-12-2017, 08:58   #5
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

I have no special interest to register the boat at the moment since i will sail in the FL water for the first year.

However i only have 30 days to pay the tax and the tax collector asked me to register to the coast guard first (probably because the boat was register to the CSG before?).

That is why i am confuse.

In a previous mail i saw that i should ask the previous owner to unregistered the boat. I can certainly do so.

Being practical when i do so, should i just go to the tax collector with the bill of sale not mentioning the boat is register and deal boat processes separately?

@Vasco. That is an other possibility indeed. I am a Belgium citizen.
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Old 29-12-2017, 09:18   #6
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Hi Maijipo,

First if I may offer one suggestion. To avoid confusion you should use the correct names for the different registration processes.

If registered with the USCG the correct terminology is USCG Documentation. Yes you cannot do this as a non USA citizen but as mentioned by Billknny you can keep USCG Documentation by forming a US corporation in Delaware but this will of course cost a little money. But as he also said, the easier process is to have the boat removed from USCG Documentation.

If you register the boat with a state then that document and process is call state registration. This can be done by anyone even if not a US citizen or even without a green card.

Very important, even if you only sail the boat in Florida for the first year you
must have either USCG Documentation or state registration on the boat.

Regarding tax, you do not have to have USCG Documentation to pay the tax. The tax can be paid easily based on a state registration. In fact, most states when you purchase a boat you will be asked to pay two fees. One is sales tax of +/-6% of the price paid for the boat and a registration fee that is usually +/-$100.00. These will be paid when you go to the state office to get the registration documents.






Quote:
Originally Posted by maijipo View Post
I have no special interest to register the boat at the moment since i will sail in the FL water for the first year.

However i only have 30 days to pay the tax and the tax collector asked me to register to the coast guard first (probably because the boat was register to the CSG before?).

That is why i am confuse.

In a previous mail i saw that i should ask the previous owner to unregistered the boat. I can certainly do so.

Being practical when i do so, should i just go to the tax collector with the bill of sale not mentioning the boat is register and deal boat processes separately?

@Vasco. That is an other possibility indeed. I am a Belgium citizen.
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Old 29-12-2017, 09:30   #7
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

@skipmac

Thank you very much and sorry for the wrong terminology.

I already contacted the previous owner to see if he can removed the boat from USCG Documentation. In all cases it is my first step.

Once it is done i will go for the state registration. (maybe i could try to go there at the same time and not mention the current USCG documentation)

From there if i understand i have a few choices:

1. Keep navigation in FL with my state registration
2. Get the US citizenship (long due process anyway after so many years on green card) and get the USCG documentation
3. Get a Belgian flag and ask for a permit.

Chris
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Old 29-12-2017, 09:40   #8
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Ok I don't want to start any arguments here and have not followed the legal developments but I bought my previous US coast Guard documented boat in USA in 2012 and had it documented for me with the USCG by an agent recommended by the broker. I'm am/was NOT a US citizen, neither do/did have a US Green Card. Since then I have read in several occasions here that one must be US Citizen to document with USCG. Maybe the regulations have changed or my agent who did the process bent the rules, I don't know. All I know my boat was USCG documented for me and I had no problems whatsoever.
Can someone please link/point to the specific regulation or form that says USCG documentation reguires a US citizenship please?

Please note: I will NOT start any arguments about this, just stating what was a fact with my old boat.
Cheers.
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Old 29-12-2017, 09:50   #9
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

The responses from the others to your question contain all the necessary information to accomplish what you want. Your confusion arises from the terms "register" or registered". There is no such thing as a US Coast Guard "registered" boat. The Coast Guard terminology is "Documented" and a non-US citizen or a corporation owned or controlled by non-US citizens can't document a boat with the Coast Guard.

Your boat is apparently already owned by a US citizen and is "documented" (not registered) with the Coast Guard. Simply get the seller to cancel his documentation, then do a state "registration" and pay the taxes. It's really very easy. Good luck.
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Old 29-12-2017, 09:51   #10
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by ErikFinn View Post
Ok I don't want to start any arguments here and have not followed the legal developments but I bought my previous US coast Guard documented boat in USA in 2012 and had it documented for me with the USCG by an agent recommended by the broker. I'm am/was NOT a US citizen, neither do/did have a US Green Card. Since then I have read in several occasions here that one must be US Citizen to document with USCG. Maybe the regulations have changed or my agent who did the process bent the rules, I don't know. All I know my boat was USCG documented for me and I had no problems whatsoever.
Can someone please link/point to the specific regulation or form that says USCG documentation reguires a US citizenship please?

Please note: I will NOT start any arguments about this, just stating what was a fact with my old boat.
Cheers.
Go to the CG-1258 online form. You will have to certify you are a US Citizen on the application.
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Old 29-12-2017, 09:59   #11
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

To EricFinn: The regulations have not changed in decades or at least the fifty years I've been at this stuff. If you are not a US citizen or "your" boat is not owned by a US corporation, LLC or other US legal entity the control of which is vested in US citizens, your are in big trouble with the USCG. You need to correct this situation immediately. I am not surprised that a so-called "documentation expert" did this and probably for a big fee. This kind of sham is rampant in the industry. If an agent did this you may have legal recourse against the agent if the Coast Guard comes after you.
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Old 29-12-2017, 10:07   #12
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

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Originally Posted by maijipo View Post
Go to the CG-1258 online form. You will have to certify you are a US Citizen on the application.
Thanks, I checked that. The form is from August 2016, maybe the citizenship requirement has changed since 2012 when my previous boat was documented.
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Old 29-12-2017, 10:10   #13
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

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Thanks, I checked that. The form is from August 2016, maybe the citizenship requirement has changed since 2012 when my previous boat was documented.
It has not changed since the passage of the Jones Act in 1920.

If your agent knew you were not a citizen of the USA then they committed fraud, or maybe they just forgot to ask and assumed, or maybe they didn't know the rules themselves...
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Old 29-12-2017, 10:13   #14
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Having been through this process in 2017, with almost identical circumstances, (a long-term resident alien buying a documented vessel), I have the following to offer:

1. As stated above, non-citizens cannot document vessels, with the corporate exception as noted. You boat must be undocumented.
2. Allowing an agent to document your vessel when you are not eligible is the same as you doing it. While you might succeed for a while, expect problems eventually. This did not happen to me, but to a friend. I won't go into his situation, but he 'lied' on a Federal form...
3. I'm told that state registration will suffice on non-navigable inland waters. It is elsewhere that is the problem.
4. If you take the undocumented/state-registered vessel out of the USA, it is classed as 'unflagged', that is of no nationality. Getting into the Bahamas is not a problem with state registration.
5. Bring said vessel back into the USA and you will require a special permit (you will need exactly $19. No change is given!) at every port you enter. This is a 'Vessel Entrance or Clearance Statement'
6. Using your foreign nationality, you can 'register' the vessel outside the USA. In this case, you can get a Cruising Permit.
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Old 29-12-2017, 10:17   #15
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Re: Registering a boat in the US

Quote:
Originally Posted by jmschmidt View Post
To EricFinn: The regulations have not changed in decades or at least the fifty years I've been at this stuff. If you are not a US citizen or "your" boat is not owned by a US corporation, LLC or other US legal entity the control of which is vested in US citizens, your are in big trouble with the USCG. You need to correct this situation immediately. I am not surprised that a so-called "documentation expert" did this and probably for a big fee. This kind of sham is rampant in the industry. If an agent did this you may have legal recourse against the agent if the Coast Guard comes after you.
Thanks for your concern, boat was sold and registered out of USA since 2012. Just interesting stuff how the agent was able to do it if the regulations have not changed. The agent was recommended by a major brokerage firm in the US. Well, now I suppose I'm in the FBI's most wanted list..
But seriously good to know that USCG documentation is only for US citizens/entities, in case I ever buy a boat in USA anymore.
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